TCM vs West - Urinary Tract Infection

Urinary Tract Infection UTI

Urinary Tract Infections can affect men and women alike. Nevertheless they occur more frequently in women due to a shorter urinary tract.


There are fundamental differences how Western and Eastern medicine approaches Urinary Tract Infections.

In Western Medicine

In western medicine Urinary Tract Infections is an infection in any part of the urinary system which includes kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra.  Most infections involve the lower urinary tract — the bladder and the urethra. Doctors typically treat urinary tract infections with antibiotics. Often as soon as one infection clears up with antibiotics, another one sets in. This cycle can be repeated over and over, and may cause other problems from the side effects of the drugs used. Factors that facilitate UTIs are:

  • A diet high in carbohydrates and low in protein
  • A history of kidney stones.
  • Any illness that impairs the immune system, such as diabetes.
  • Not drinking enough water.
  • Certain types of birth control, specifically the diaphragm.
  • Being sexually active, especially with a new partner

In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine)

There are several factors that can cause Urinary Tract Infection symptoms, including Excess Damp Heat in Bladder, Excess Heat in Lung, Stagnation of Liver Qi, Obstruction of Urinary Tract, Middle Burner Qi Sinking , Kidney Yang Deficiency, Kidney Yin deficiency and Blood Stasis.

Excess damp heat trapped inside the bladder results in a burning sensation with fullness in the lower abdomen, strong smelling urine and the urge to urinate frequently.  

Excess heat in the lungs would affected the lungs’ function and prevent the urine in the bladder to drain completely and cause infections.  

Liver Qi stagnation would affected the flow of the Qi which affects the flow of the urine too.  Some urine would stay inside the bladder and cause infections.

Obstruction of the urinary tract can also affect the flow of the urine, cause a sensation of stinging heat during urination and pain/distension in the lower abdomen.  Some urine would stay inside the bladder and cause infections.

Middle burner Qi sinking, which is a prolapsed feeling in the abdomen, can affected the flow of the urine and cause a feeling of bloating.  Some urine would stay inside the bladder and cause infections.

Kidney yang deficiency causes a reduced force to push the urine out and some urine would stay inside the bladder and cause infections.  

Kidney yin deficiency is the foundation of the yin fluid of the whole body. If the body lacks yin fluid it will affect the function of the organs.


Different individuals may experience different symptoms, including:

  • A burning feeling when urinating
  • A frequent or intense urge to urinate, even though little comes out
  • Pain or pressure in the back or lower abdomen
  • Cloudy, dark, bloody, or strange-smelling urine

Diet & Prevention

Drink plenty of water.  Avoid drinking coffee, tea, alcohol or cold beverages.  If possible avoid sexual intercourse. After sexual intercourse empty your bladder as soon as possible.  It is best to avoid eating uncooked (raw), greasy, and pungent food and chocolate. No smoking and exercise daily to keep your body and immune system strong.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine the following herbs are recommended for individuals with Urinary Tract Infection 

  • Chinese Pink Dianthus
  • Gardenia
  • Lysimachia
  • Plantago seeds
  • Licorice

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.